Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Education.com - Resource website

I was recently introduced to Education.com, a great resource for introducing fun and educational activities to young children from 2-11 years of age. No matter what their starting ability is you can utilise the site to put together stimulating activities for your child. With links to lessons plans (great for those home educators) and worksheets, exercises, stories and games there is something for everyone.
Education.com has over 30,000 educational activities available! Plus Guided lessons and progress trackers. You can subscribe to Education.com from $9,99 per month, or a one off payment of $298 gives you unlimited lifetime membership!


Make Math Fun with Buttons!



Kindergarten Math Activities: Make Math Fun with Buttons!

What You Need:

  • An assortment of buttons (from your own collection or a bag at the craft store)
  • Bowl
  • Sheet of construction paper or card stock
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Sort the buttons. Dump the buttons onto the table or floor. Point out all the pretty colours and different sizes. Can she put them into separate piles? Have her sort them by colour first, then by shape, and then by size. Can she sort by two descriptors: colour and size?
  2. Count the buttons. How high can she count? Have her drop the buttons into a bowl while counting. This will help her with one-to-one correspondence. Make sure what she says matches the corresponding button.
  3. Button PatternsShow her an AB pattern, such as red, blue, red, blue… Can she continue the pattern? Can she make other AB patterns? How about an ABC, or other three-colored pattern?
  4. Make a Button Letter. Using the glue, write the first letter of her name on the construction paper. Have her glue the buttons on. Now she has a tactile letter to trace with her fingers. Make more letters as your child encounters them in school or at home, and she'll learn the alphabet in no time!

Monday, 9 October 2017

**COMPETITION** The Cliff Hotel 90's Explosion! Friday 27th October 2017


Join the Cliff Hotel for a totally 90's Explosion! on Friday 27th October. 

With music from 

Urban Cookie Collective


AND Rozalla!

Tickets are just £17.50 per person and not only include these fabulous artists and we don't mean tribute acts but the ACTUAL artists, but the Cliff Hotel's resident DJ Chris Speed will be at the decks to warm you up with a mix of the 90's greatest hits and then bringing the night to a close with fantastic tunes from the decade.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Mermaid School in Aqua Natura

Having just spent the afternoon reminiscing holidays in the sun with friends, I took a look back through our short break at Magic Natura, Benidorm. Ours was a Jet2Holiday booked via Holiday Hamster.
Whilst there we had unlimited all inclusive access to Aqua Natura, the hotel's onsite water park.
A great water park with a wonderful added attraction - Mermaid School!

This is situated on a little island in the centre of the main pool, a small walkway over the pool brings you to the entrance. 

The experience costs 20 Euros per person and includes costume, make over, accessories, photo shoot, time using the tail in the water and a photo.

The kiosk opens just after midday, we booked over at the Customer Services desk and were given a receipt to hand over. (I found out later that we could of booked this at a discounted rate direct from our hotel, this would of cost 18 Euros per person, however, we were happy to pay the 20 Euros and still considered this value for money.)

We were greeted with great enthusiasm as we arrived, the lady who works the kiosk also performs as a Mermaid in the water park and we had been watching her just before booking the girls in. 

We were able to stay with the girls as they selected their tails and tops, then on to accessories.

There was a whole array of tiaras, flowers, lei lei's, necklaces you name it they had it and it a vast rainbow of colours. The girls spent quite a while choosing, trying on various items before finally making their selection.

After this we helped the girls into their costumes and were asked to wait in the entrance, by now there were several other children who had joined the girls, all keen to become Mermaids.

On to a mermaid makeover next, beautiful swirls, flowers, sparkle, diamont(es) adorned the girls faces in colours to compliment their mermaid tails.

Now it was time for the girls photo shoot. they were taken to pool side and the assistant helped them to wiggle into their tails and attach the mono fins. They had individual photos taken and several of them together. They certainly seemed in their element throughout this, lapping up the attention!

Finally it was the time the girls had been waiting for, time to get into the pool!

Mollie entered the water first, whilst Emily was having her individual photos taken, and very quickly got to grips with the tail and impressed us with her confidence using it. The lady guiding her allowed Mollie to explore the tail but stayed close by in case she got into trouble. Shortly it was time for Ems to join them, she also took to the tail well, not quite as confidently as Mollie but she managed to glide herself through the water.

In all the girls were in Mermaid School for over an hour, a good half of which was in the water using the tails. The quality of the photos they took were exceptional and as well as the one included (your choice of those that were taken) we purchased a few more. I heard that the mono fins were for sale at the water park (but never actually found them or found out how much they were.) From where we were standing we had a great view of them using the tails, diving down under the water and gliding along.

The girls really enjoyed the experience, using a mono fin has been on their Bucket List for some time now and they weren't disappointed. The make up used was waterproof so stayed on during the swim and throughout the rest of the day. 

Highly recommended if you are visiting the area.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Lovely Ladybirds with Norfolk Rocks!

We've recently been enjoying the new craze that's been sweeping the country, locally named "Norfolk Rocks."
I'm not sure where this craze first started, it has stemmed from Rocks of Kindness as far as I can see.
This involves decorating rocks with paints, permanent markers, glitter or embellishments, basically whatever you can that stays on the rock, many people also varnish their rocks to seal them.

Photo from www.shibleysmiles.com/pbc-rocks-palm-beach-county-rocks-rockin/

Then place them around the area when you are out and about, we've found some that were well hidden and others that have been placed within clear view.
We found our first rock during late summer, just before returning to school and were soon hooked into the craze.

Have a quick search on Facebook and you'll most likely find a painted rocks group in your area. I joined up to Norfolk Rocks (UK) and the excitement grew. 

Hiding and finding these little tokens of kindness, some beautifully painted by toddlers and children, some stunning examples from artistic people, some not so talented (me) but are still fun to find.
Many people like to include a little message of hope or kindness too.
Generally people write on the bottom instructing you to take a photo and put on to the Facebook page, then keep or re hide the rock. Many include a hashtag followed by their name but that's entirely up to you.


After reading about a gathering of painted rocks in Southend I was inspired to give this a try locally. 
I place an event in the Norfolk Rocks (UK) group inviting people to decorate their rocks as ladybirds and to bring them to Gorleston Yacht Pond one evening.

To be honest, I didn't expect much and told the girls that if no one turns up then we will still have fun hiding our rocks. 


We set off a little early and started to place our ladybirds around the perimeter wall. Soon I was joined by another two families and they started adding.


Then this lovely lady.


Another couple and more and the ladybird line grew!
After 45 minutes we had a wonderful row of 81 ladybirds and friends!

We were thrilled that so many others had taken part, the children involved had all been ecstatically happy seeing the ladybirds arrive (plus having lots of fun on our beautiful beach) 


The next day the Facebook page was full of excitement as people discovered the ladybirds, sharing their photos, their happiness at seeing them gathered, their swaps and re hides!

81 smiles made that day!

We are now planning a Remembrance Rocks at St Georges Park, Great Yarmouth and we are hoping for enough Poppy Rocks to make a trail leading up to the Memorial Monument. It would be lovely if you could join us, Saturday 11th November, we'll be there between 10.30-11.30am and will mark the minute silence at 11am.

Remember, if you're painting rocks then please do not take them from the beach.

You can buy bags of rocks from DIY shops and garden centre for under £10.

Painted rocks are a great way to involve the family in a little art, a bit of giving and lots of fun, plus you get the health benefits of getting out in the fresh air and taking a walk.


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Redwings Horse Sanctuary Caldecott

Redwings Horse Sanctuary is situated in Caldecott, Norfolk. It is one of 5 horse sanctuarys ran by Redwings and it is their largest. Easy to find on the A143 opposite Fritton Lake. With ample free parking and free entry Redwings is a great place to pay a visit.

Opening times
Redwings Caldecott is open all year round, every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 10am to 4pm (closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays). 

I must admit, we hadn't visited Redwings for years but a couple of friends of mine were planning to go and invited the girls and I to join them. As we pulled into the car park we had to make our way carefully across to park as the ground was very bumpy and had lots of large dips, just make your way carefully and you will be fine.

To the left as you enter there is a large wooden play area for young children.

After checking in at the Visitors Centre, where we found the staff friendly and helpful, we went through to to take a look at the gift shop and information centre. 
Just outside the girls spotted a food donation box which they are now planning on filling!

We then enjoyed a relaxing hour wandering around the fields and stables. The animals all looked well looked after and had large enclosures and comfortable stables. 

The animals are calm and seemingly very used to human interaction, as we approached each enclosure we found that there would be several horses or donkeys that would come trotting over to be fussed, much to Em's delight!

Redwings also offer an adoption package, priced at just £12.50 and we are now looking into this for Emily. She is busy saving her pocket money and doing extra chores to earn money. Once she has saved enough we will take her back to visit and talk to the staff about adopting a horse or donkey.

After we had walked round the enclosures we decided to pay the cafe a visit. This is cutely called "Nosebag Cafe" and has a reasonably priced menu.

The girls choose ice creams whilst I opted for a Mocha Latte, I have to say it was a good coffee! Proper coffee, Yum!

Whilst us adults enjoyed a sit down, the children all had a run around the play area again and enjoyed hanging out on the fresh air and chatting.

Dotted around the centre were information boards which gave details of the animals in the enclosures and explanations about things we had noticed such as the horses wearing face masks and the empty "overgrown" enclosures.

We finished off with a walk along the stables and a quick goodbye to the horses. 

It was a lovely few hours visit, it's not often that you can get free entry to places these days and when we left we popped a donation in the visitors centre. We'll definitely be back for a return visit in the near future.
To find out more visit their website or find them on Facebook.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Great Yarmouth Treasure Trail

As a family we are huge fans of Treasure Trails. We have shared our experiences of these with you in the past and we were thrilled to be asked to review their brand new Great Yarmouth Trail! The trail was set to cover 2.5 miles and estimated to take 2,5 hours to complete, we find that the estimated times are usually pretty accurate.
It's also fully wheelchair and pushchair accessible, with plenty of opportunities for stopping for refreshments and sight seeing on the way.
You could do this trail quite easily as part of a day at the seaside, taking in the local attractions - Joyland, Pleasure Beach, Merrivale Model Village and so much more!

If you've never heard of them before then make sure you pay them a visit on their website or Facebook to find out more. Also give their promotional video a watch which explains them perfectly!

We arranged to meet our friends to help us with this trail, a treasure hunt themed trail. They completed a trail in Cardiff with us last year and got the trail bug!

This trail commences at Britannia Pier which is easily located at the end of Regent Road, which leads straight up from the bus station in the town. It also signifies the start of the Golden Mile, a hugely popular tourist attraction.

We then followed the clues along the seafront which took in various landmarks and points of significant interest. 

Emily and our friends little girl had great fun running ahead to find the next clue, as the seafront has lovely wide pathways they were able to venture off a little with us knowing they were safe.

Although we are local, lived here all our lives, the trail made us take notice of things that we have over looked in the past. Who would have known some of the hidden marvels we have on our doorstep!

Although we found that a little bit of local knowledge helped us along but the clues were all there to find without too much searching, we did have a little problem with one clue, I think this is where our local knowledge probably hindered us as we tried to over think the clue ARGH!!! 

So we decided to make use of the free text help service.  
This is nice and simple to use, just send the trails unique ref code and the clue number you are stuck on to the number printed on the trail and within seconds we had the answer and an explanation why this was the answer sent back to us.
You can use the text service up to three times in one trail, we've done several trails in the past and this is the first time we have had to use it.

A quick stop en route for an ice-cream break (well when you're beside the seaside!) 

 Then we were back on track.
The trail took us as far as the Pleasure Beach before sending us back along the adjacent side of the parade, this included a little detour from the main promenade to take in a clue at the famous Hippodrome Circus (always a favourite place of ours.)

Then it was straight back onto the front to find the remaining clues.
We continued along finding Blue Plaques and architecture which has long been covered over and turned off the front onto Regent Road. 

We presumed that this was the last few clues as we were leaving the seafront.
We had fun spotting the next couple of clues in this area and then we were surprised to find we were being sent back towards the seafront again!

We found the final clue back near the start and entered our final answer online to enter the monthly £100 giveaway competition and we were delighted to find that we had correctly located the "treasure!"

The trails are great fun for all the family, they are simple for kids to read and navigate and we love discovering more about the areas we are in by using these trails.

Trails cost just £6.99 and will provide you with a good few hours worth of fun for all the family, why not take your friends along too! The trials are printed as high quality card booklets and well packaged to protect them. Postage and packaging costs from £1.49 for up to 3 trails or you can download your order and print at home, this is great for last minute trailing! (Postage typically takes 2-3 days.)

I also think the Trails make great gifts, the girls have given these to their teachers as end of year presents before and I have gifted them to friends, they have always been gratefully received and enjoyed.

Check out the Treasure Trails website to find a trail in your area or perhaps holiday destination, they have over 1000 UK locations!!!!
One of the best things about Treasure Trails - apart from the low price, great fun, fresh air, family quality time, sight seeing and so much more, is you can do them whenever you want to; any time, any day, any month of the year.

I'm now off to look for the next Treasure Trail we fancy completing, make sure you order yours today and get the trailing bug!